U of M set to implement new 'affirmative consent' policy on sexual activity

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The University of Minnesota will have a new affirmative consent policy for students and sexual relations by the time incoming freshmen begin Welcome Week.

The approval on the "yes means yes" policy, as it's often shorthanded to, comes after a monthslong fight from student advocacy groups, who urged the university to make its sexual assault policies clearer.

In a letter sent this week, university President Eric Kaler says he asked for and got approval from the Board of Regents "to immediately implement the revised policy."

Student body President Joelle Stangler shared it on Twitter.

Welcome Week runs Sept. 2-7.

The update includes language that better defines what, exactly, is considered affirmative consent, Minnesota Daily reports.

Kaler also asked the Board of Regents to ratify the new language at its Sept. 10-11 meeting.

What changes?

On the newly updated University of Minnesota policy page, it says affirmative consent is required by individuals engaging in sexual activity. That means there's been "informed, freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear and unambiguous words or actions."

That requirement of consent continues throughout any activity. Click here to read the additional explanations.

The policy was originally scheduled to be implemented in early July, but was delayed so the Board of regents could discuss the changes.

The Minnesota Student Association had been pushing for a change to the school’s sexual assault policies for months, and this past winter worked with school officials to re-evaluate the university’s guidelines on sexual consent, as well as discipline for students who are reported for sexual harassment and assault.

According to U.S. Department of Education data, there were 34 “forcible” on-campus sexual assaults on the U of M’s Twin Cities campus between 2011 and 2013, and an additional 27 similar incidents in on-campus student housing during the same time period.

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